“The first casualty of war is truth.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-21510,00.html
We can dismiss commercial advertisers and government spokespeople as stealth liars who mislead the public insistently or until someone chokes the truth out of them. Repelled by artless honesty, they fall back on the truth only under intense probing. Even then, they do so reluctantly and on a provisional basis. They would rather bury whopping lies under an avalanche of borderline truths. For them, meaningless monologue is preferable to balanced debate; credible lies, to the truth. Lying has become their duty, their rice bowl and their “honor.” How much more deluded can they be and can they make us?
Televised “debate” opposes contestants who accept the scandalous status quo with equal fervor but whose marginal disputes masquerade as debate. This is standard fare in “balanced” American reporting. See for yourself in the Lehrer Report, that corporate mouthpiece of “Public Television” bought-and-paid-for by the Koch Brothers.
Here in the United States, “balanced reporting” means that unjustifiable policies merit more favorable TV airtime than reasonable ones, and more exculpatory ink in the press. Thus the unacceptable is validated by rote repetition. Trump got a hundred times more media coverage than Bernie Sanders. Obvious sociopaths and outed conmen get more media adulation than honest folk; reactionaries are paired off against conservatives, Demoblicans against Republicrats. Their pro forma (for the sake of appearance) arguments simulate controversy while the underlying tyranny is left carefully undisturbed.
Here’s nother example of this institutional dishonesty. Industrialists confuse comparison-shoppers by issuing household products in off-size, fractional-unit containers: 1.32 lbs., 8.3 liquid pints, 0.7 liters: same product, different companies, different prices. You have one minute to solve. Serving sizes are reduced to play down their mandatory declaration of noxious content. Such “single serving” portions would not satisfy the appetite of a small child.
No warning label is required to show that food has been irradiated, or that it contains genetically engineered ingredients, or that meat was raised in factory farms cramming poisons and neutralizing the benefit of antibiotics by overusing them. It’s clear that such labels would end the sale of those experimental products. They cost much less to produce than those they replace (“organic” ones, raised the old way) yet are priced just as high or higher. It may well be they’ll be harder to clean up afterwards and at greater expense, than would be indicated by their subsidized price and censored labeling.
These same manufacturers whine about the expense they incur reporting their products’ nutritional content: trivial sums compared to the fortune they spend on false advertising.
Corporations never stop complaining about government regulation. Unfortunately for them, it is the only mechanism that can restrain their worst schemes. Each new regulation is a token response to corporate malfeasance. In the name of “healthy” competition, every corporate board would imitate each new fraud if they thought they could get away with it. In the absence of additional regulation, anyone who did not imitate his least honest competitor would be driven out of business. Corporate crime has preceded each new regulation and every follow-up corporate protest.
Catch a previously quiet mega-corporation praising itself in new TV ads or on full-page newspaper spreads, and discover more often than not that it is trying to drown out some recent outrage it was caught at red-handed.
The ruinous Savings and Loan bailout, the putrefaction of commercial airline service, runaway power bills and recent bookkeeping scandals of metastasizing impunity by corporations, all of them demonstrate what happens when corporations regulate themselves. Their officers are happy to “regulate” themselves all the way to the bank. Profiteering from the serial laissez-faire the last six Presidents, the fossil fuel/nuke cartel has replaced government regulation with a welfare state of boundless generosity for corporations. So much for the “free market” and its “self-regulatory” burlesque! As expected, the “unseen hand” Adam Smith described is only skilled at con games.
Iceland was the only European country that got through the recession of 2008 and emerged with significant improvement. Liable bankers won nothing but jail time and the national response to their demand for a bailout was “sink or swim.” As with Roman Legions sometimes panic-stricken but never replaceable, decimation was the ultimate resolution for “too big to fail.”
Let's hope those slimy hypocrites never get their hands on the funds of Social Security. They have been drooling over them for years. If so, we’ll grow old as paupers despite our lifetime’s mandatory savings. As it stands, Congress has dipped its swindlers’ mitts in this till during more than one unbalanced fiscal year.
“Stand by for this important political spoof! Instead of watching your retirement funds evaporate in the Stock Exchange, report immediately to the nearest casino and gamble your retirement away at house odds. May the free market prevail once and for all!”
Seriously, I’m kidding. If only those house odds could be made reliably profitable for the gambler or at least safe. What about a casino mulligan, as in golf? You would get to leave with what you walked in with, minus a small entrance fee. Mere life support earnings for the most part. After all, these would be government-subsidized casinos on PeaceWorld.
The abrupt distress of the American middle class results from decades of captive 401K retirement savings and their compulsory diversion into disastrous stock market investments. Such savings would vanish the moment the stock market collapsed, as it has with more and more chaotic frequency and volatility over time.
The term “deregulation” is secret code for “substandard service at the maximum prices.” An elaboration of capitalists’ favorite slogan: “Profits for the few at the risk and expense of the many.” This may be the best definition of national-capitalism, the latest touch-up of weapon exploitation.
Commercial advertising clogs already limited broadcast channels with its white noise static gushing from the mass media. This phenomenon can only be described as a planetary conspiracy to trivialize the important and magnify the trivial.
It has occurred to me that almost all broadcast programming (films, TV, radio and the Internet) wastes the maximum amount of the public’s time while transmitting the least amount of useful information. Go watch a few hours of this mass-produced gobbledygook and see for yourself.
There are hundreds of channels of cable television, broadcasting 24/365. Thousands, probably millions of person-hours go into each hour of those broadcasts. Think about it: not only are there actors, directors, writers, producers and their technical staff; but plain old accountants, HR and support personnel, guards and miscellaneous staffers; all of them and at least one work day of their lives devoted to producing perhaps twenty minutes per hour of useful information on one channel alone. And my definition of “useful” is more than generous. Most of this monumental effort perpetuates meaningless noise. Multiply by every nation on Earth and its television industry. The only good analogy I can think of, is that of Egyptians massed by the thousands to build, guild and furnish dead-weight pyramids. They, at least, managed to build massive monuments while our efforts have produced nothing more than electro-magnetic ephemera.
No-one has analyzed user needs and targeted information to suit temperament and taste. Preliminary, fumbling attempts to do so have been attacked as invasions of privacy. Another sample of our massive clumsiness.
We have become obsessive-compulsive about our information streams. If they appear to be personally or institutionally useful, we hoard them, ration them and restrict their access at the slightest provocation. Our ancestors used to burn each other alive over information that merely appeared to be unfamiliar and new. Nowadays, we create great trash piles of it – in accordance with our “business needs” – and broadcast that without regard to its usefulness or relevance to the end-receiver. We are buried under mountains of useless information. This mass OCD syndrome demands multiple liberations both personal and communal.
For those of us on the receiving end of this unsolicited babble, it feels like being locked in a room with a verbose maniac bereft of taste, refinement, honesty and modesty. Our thoughts are exposed to perverse standards of ethics, esthetics, materialism and brutal pathosex. Criminality and its vicious suppression are the norm. Useless products and services are jammed down our throat 24/7.
It’d be like inspecting a library, the shelves of which were crammed with loads bookends and a mere handful of shoddy books. If all the monologue machines were shut down at once, the accretion of disinformation would be bad enough. We rapt listeners, however, repeat this nonsense to each other all the livelong day and then go home to absorb another evening’s worth. Thus is our zombie hypnosis worsened daily to compound our problems.
If a School Board caught one of its teachers foisting such trash on his students, it would fire him on the spot. With perfect justification, you would slam the door in the face of a salesperson who dared brainwash your children in this manner. Yet the media mislead us in this way by default. Criminal disinformation disgorges from it without letup. A corresponding yield of unalloyed truth would enlighten us.
Big Lies induce the Routine of Evil, the way too many sweets induce diabetes and tooth decay. According to professional liars, the truth is a raw dough to be shaped and baked twice to their employer’s convenience. Their favorite candidate for future abuse is anyone “stupid” enough to reject such a notion.
Contemplate the end of such parasite livelihoods. A Niagara of lies and irrelevancies would roar to a halt. Deafening silence! Yet we would still need products and services; government would still impose its sorry burden. In short, life would go on. However, we’d stop absorbing Big Lies so often. Mr. Honesty and Ms. Goddess might turn out to be good friends in the absence of so many lies from Big Brother and Bimbo Borax. Who would miss all those wanton lies, once advertising and over-packaging were kicked to the curb?
“Sales of products are less important than we think. Just look at the communist countries: the millions of pictures of Lenin displayed everywhere you go certainly do not stimulate love of Lenin. The advertising agencies of the Communist Party (the so-called agitprop departments) have long forgotten the practical goal of their activity, (to make the communist system better liked), and have become an end in themselves: they have created their own language, their formulas, their aesthetics, (the heads of the agencies once had absolute power over art in their countries), their idea of the right life-style, which they cultivate, disseminate, and force upon their unfortunate peoples.” Milan Kundera, Immortality, Translated by Peter Kussi, Grove Weidenfeld, New York, 1991, p. 113. By permission of Grove/Atlantic.
Have you taken a close look at a new automobile lately? We have been drummed to death how sleek, beautiful, elegant and sexy they are. Actually, they are lousy investments: anti-social, ecocidal, elitist, hierarchical, filthy, stinking, unreliable, counter-ergonomic, uncomfortable, dangerous, inefficient, usually inert, invasive, overpriced, poisonous, poverty-inducing, crime promoting, city destroying and guaranteed obsolescent.
Lean on the handrail of a highway overpass some clear night. It is difficult to imagine that such a cataract of fluid steel could flow beyond the blast zone of a volcano. All our cities have turned into volcanoes. Such a daily waste of precious energy!
A black mamba would be more attractive than any of those automobiles. We have turned them into one-ton key chains, religious idols and class totems. In so doing, we’ve had to work hard to ignore the obvious.
Of course, automobiles offer an illusion of convenience that would evaporate if a small fraction of the fortune devoted to them were spent rationalizing public transit.
Look around you the next time you take a walk downtown. Note the patina of pollution that flows down the gutter, the stench that fills your nostrils and the sepia smear that shrouds the horizon. Such real-life excreta never mar pristine auto ads even though they flood our awareness to such an extent that we don't notice them any longer, neither the commercial blather nor the crap they promote. Note how decades-dry neighborhoods flood as more and more forests are paved over to satisfy this auto-Mammon. More and more “development” and exports of cheap logs in exchange for auto and fuel imports that collapse our balance of trade. Note how your eyes burn and how smog-laced pollen has turned simple hay fever into chronic asthma for, how many now, four out of ten urban children, and more as time goes on?
Global warming has become a Cosmic Phenomenon, another Act of God beyond human control, whereas it’s just the farts from our cars, factories and power plants.
Cast your mind back to the time of medieval burghers. With some justification, we could be tempted to sneer at their foolishness. Among other lethal idiocies, they threw excrement out into the street for livestock and passersby to wallow in. Future Learners will sneer at us for much the same reason. Just as foolishly, we fouled our soil, water and skies; shamelessly abused the poor; and hearkened to medieval trivia instead of addressing matters of importance. What ludicrous hicks!
For most people (heck, for almost everyone, ourselves included), truth is a mere matter of repetition. What we’ve heard most often, no matter how ambiguous, must be the truth. We can be persuaded that night is day, say, that some minority is secretly out to get us or that private automobiles are beautiful … provided enough people and machines can be made to repeat it to us. Suckered into subsidizing the blitzkrieg industry, we refuse to admit this disgrace. Instead, we pay armies of copywriters to broadcast the obvious lie that automobiles are “sexy.” Lumps of plastic and lacquered scrap-metal cut, wrapped and welded by the ton, farting and drooling poisons: sexy? According to what sexual deviant?
Then, let’s subvert mass transit and make its most promising technologies disappear. Finally, get everyone to repeat: “The fix would just cost too much, (deep sigh).”
Then there’s this other nonsense. “Government is no good at reducing poverty, improving education, redistributing abundance and delivering justice. We should make government as powerless, slow and stupid as possible.” Regardless of its inevitable growth.
Of course, government cannot provide such services when reactionaries make it their business to sabotage them. However, talented Learners could empower the poor with new policies of some imagination, if only we held the reactionaries off their backs for a while: our obvious duty and advantage.
Tell me, who pulled off the following projects? Emancipation from slavery, ending the Great Depression, the Marshall Plan of European economic recovery (and its Asian equivalents), and manned space flight to the Moon, etc. … Was it central government or a loose gaggle of rich individuals? Now tell me. Who triggered slavery; the Great Depression and its 2008 clone; the collapse of Third World economies; who set up the American economic landscape as gated communities sprinkled across a Third World homeland; corresponding despoilment of the middle class; the collapse of human planetary exploration; etc. … was it central government or a loose gaggle of powerful, private interests with their arms jammed in the cookie jar?
Of course, talented liars and propagandists will fill valuable niches: those of troubadour, storyteller, actor, magician, seer, priest, shaman and Learner. A Golden Age of storytelling awaits us once all this organized lying gets stripped of profit.
These days, we gorge on surrogate violence, reactionary propaganda, redundant sports and soap opera drivel. In the future, a growing number of Learners will concentrate on vital matters. Taking a break from their cherished Learning, they will take pleasure in the most outrageous inventions that talented liars can spin: fine stories and plays and other good things. But none of this will detract from the honesty of Learner government.
I can think of at least nineteen sub-sets of the Big Lie currently mass-produced and mass-bartered (it takes at least two to do this tango):
1. Dogmatic lies: fictions are asserted as truths despite their obvious falsehood. Obvious lies are broadcast to a misled public and repeated by it (by commission) or accepted through neglect of the truth (by omission). Consult the denial of global warming. Good God, so many lies promoted so frequently — by whom and to what purpose? These questions alone gave birth to Learner.
2. Simplifying lies: your judgment is too limited to grasp the complex validity of my claim. I lie to simplify my rap. You will yield to my demands without making me go to the trouble of cultivating our mutual understanding. (Representative Democracy).
In reverse mode, the complicating lie: my friends and I can make relatively straightforward transactions so complicated that only we can decode their tattered logic, fill our wallets and empty yours (tax law).
3. Paternal lies: the truth would release panic among the ignorant masses. We lie to protect their childlike innocence. Selflessly, we bear truths they couldn’t handle (sigh). The fundamental question we’re sharing here: can professional liars handle the truth better than the rest of us? It’s up to you to evaluate the “Yes” response that serves their purpose best.
This lie extends to so-called “Democracy.” Majorities abandon painfully honest candidates like Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders, in favor of “politically correct” carnival barkers and con men (take your pick of American Presidents, their nearest challengers at home and equivalents abroad).
4. Altruistic lies: the truth would hurt worse than my reassuring falsehoods. Well-meaning adults slather this lie on their children’s awareness. Santa Claus and other child-targeting myths persist despite their double-edged effect on children. “Trust no one and nothing, not even under the best circumstances.” Thus are we reduced to a lifetime of suspicion under a barrage of lies.
5. Post-abuse lies: victims (and especially their descendants) exaggerate or bury their torment, demonize their oppressors and prejudge their oppressors’ descendants. Ex-tormentors justify their abuse, minimize it and try to make the public forget it. Onlookers of past wrongs sugarcoat their moral cowardice by blurring their criminal negligence.
6. Self-serving lies: my interests are compromised by your truth. They take priority over your right to learn that is insignificant to me.
7. Weapon (and corporate) lies: every public truth is a gift to the enemy. Information of a quality superior to manipulative propaganda must be restricted. Unclassified information must be incomplete, distorted and/or false. To confuse things further, many trivial truths are added to the mix at random. Any admission of error grants a boon to the enemy and must be covered up.
Military discipline is punishment-based, so weapon technicians must lie as often as they can to avoid punishment, maintain best-kept secrets and report they’ve completed impossible tasks. Mounds of punishment are shoveled to suppress these habits, which just engenders additional of military terror: the special talent of weapon managers.
8. Natural lies: “I am a part your tissue or harmless to you. Do not attack me; feed me instead”: cancers, parasites, vampires, infectious agents, embryos, and bird’s nest mimics. Alternately (and often reinforced by factual exceptions), “I am poisonous or another predator or just a twig. Don’t attack me.” Alternately again, “I am full of nutritious sap — land here and pollinate me.”
Another interesting corporate fallacy asserts that manufactured pollution is “natural” and therefore acceptable because man produced it. Man is part of nature, after all. Was the Plague “valid” because it was natural and because humans helped transmit it?
Another sub-heading of the natural lie encompasses our perception of reality. Sensory data flood our awareness in volumes beyond our ability to process. In compensation, we draw a fine trickle from this torrent and form a picture of reality from it alone. Selecting the few stimuli considered important, our mind fills the gaps creatively and weaves a stylized, symbolic approximation of reality.
Mental sanity is defined by fidelity to the gross, material reality our abstractions delineate. If every stimulus triggered equal perception, we would be fully aware but as helpless as acid-freaks or day-old infants flooded with raw stimuli.
As carnal beings, we lie to ourselves every time we blink.
9. Revolutionary lies: if we must endure amidst a stupefied populace trapped in a tissue of lies and crushed under pernicious tyranny, why not lie like bandits to brace ourselves and the revolutionary counter-attack? Promoting one evil to combat another greater: that’s a dangerous vortex to get sucked into and a difficult one to escape. Promoting the truth to harvest additional benefits – even at lesser efficiency – would that not be better?
10. Scientific lies: data conflicting with the latest science dogma gets shrugged off as irrelevant, dismissed without inquiry, branded as leftover superstition or, worse yet, pseudo-science. As if weapon science were anything more than humanity’s latest collective fantasy … until we switch channels during the next commercial break.
All too often, new discoveries are written off because gifted individuals achieve unique breakthroughs under optimal conditions that cannot necessarily be repeated since most of the parameters are half-understood or not at all. If every science doctrinaire’s grad assistant cannot repeat the feat at the drop of a hat, it is solemnly declared non-existent.
Believe it or not, the question “why” is forbidden by current science: another reason so many Learners turn their back on it (another obvious waste of talent by weapon mentality). No question should be forbidden to adult Learners for any reason.
I suppose we should make a distinction between science mentality and science technology. The best of science mentality includes the open-minded flexibility, relentless honesty, clinical precision and rigorous methodology that scientists love to brag about. Its worst technology produces the stink, poison, fear, pain, and overwhelming sense of dread helplessness that we endure, the direct outcome of the rabid rivalry, closed mindedness, indifference to consequences, and lack of fellow feeling that weapon scientists promote.
“I profess this doctrine absolutely and without reservation: that Science has no other object than the truth for its own sake, without any compunction about practical consequences, good or bad, regrettable or beneficial. Anyone who permits himself – through patriotism, religion or even morality – the least dissimulation, the slightest alteration of the facts he studies or conclusions he draws, is not worthy of his place in the Great Laboratory where the admission ticket of honesty is more fundamental than that of capability. Thus understood and pursued in the same spirit in every civilized country, communal studies form a Great State that spans restrictive, diverse and often hostile nations; a State no war can sully, no conqueror can menace, where our souls may find the shelter and unity that the City of God once provided.”
It would be hard to find a more passionate pledge of allegiance to Absolute Science. This fanatical defense of Absolute Truth (or any other Absolute, for that matter) entails more devastating results than any other lie listed here. The Absolute becomes ideal terrain for a simplification of reality whose ultimate expressions are political terror and mass murder.
I have become convinced that there are almost no incontrovertible truths, only more or less accurate approximations — certainly not a hundredth of the absolute truths men have upheld unto someone else’s death, much less the plethora held absolute that underlies Western logic and culture. Uncertainty may promote reflexive rejection of what is new or its approval. If I highlight speculation and conjecture, it is to reinforce openness to new ideas that orthodox bureaucracies forbid.
11. Hermetic lies: in order to promote internal morale and cohesion, we clandestine fellows must adopt weighty oaths of silence and mutual aid, identifying gestures, elaborate codes and secret rituals. Hermetic organizations (like the early Christians, Freemasons and weapon management) lend themselves to accusations of depraved conspiracy whether or not they are true. They permit battle elites to indulge in their favorite perversions. Penetrating secret societies with inbred skill, info elites persecute hermetics from above, corrupt them from within and slander them from below.
12. Bureaucratic lies: many bureaucrats justify their budget by withholding significant information. The more extensive their monopoly of information and the harder they make it to acquire, the more valuable its guardians seem to be and the larger their bureaucracies may grow. Under intense pressure from special interests both private and corporate, bureaucracies adopt covert agendas that contradict their public mandate. Disguising this contradiction is a critical skill for civilian agencies in a weapon bureaucracy. Otherwise, their overheads and benefits would shrink in favor of more direct weapons expenditure.
Examples abound. Distorted “success statistics” come to mind from Prohibitions targeting drinkers and druggies, to unemployment counts (always shrunken in official reports), to safety studies of atomic energy, to official reports of impending victory in Vietnam and other wars.
In many instances of misinfo politics, bureaucrats conclude that their data tabulations create reality instead of merely quantifying it. Whatever statistics they crank out, that is reality as far as they are concerned.
Another common lying technique pegs “acceptable” levels of pollutants, crime and other negative fallouts at current levels and then sets “unacceptable” ones much higher. Base dosages may be toxic but are certified tolerable or even raised in order to postpone the allocation of corporate spending to reduce them. Officially “acceptable” levels may mask real threats until spectacular catastrophes force self-informed victims to raise the alarm at their own expense. Usually, those alarms are miraculously ignored by the press; the exact opposite of reactionary projects accorded inexcusable oversell by the mass media (Trump). Responsible officials may have been briefed on the problem beforehand, but they block new findings at every turn. They are rarely held accountable for subverting the truth, and often rewarded and promoted for doing so.
For example, just before the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown of 2011, the official level of tolerable background radiation was arbitrarily doubled. And no‑one warned us that its ultimate consequence might be the snuffing out of civilization in the Northern Hemisphere. This typifies runaway weapon technology that behaves just like the accidental discharge of a pistol during its cleaning, but on a greater scale.
There are other statistical distortions in current use. Many statistics are deliberately under- or over-reported or delayed past their yearly report date, and then hugely revised years down the road. A long series of revisions over time makes the scientific interpretation of these numbers very problematic. Inaccurate predictions based on them lessen the public trust and augment the profits of those who have something to hide.
Bureaucrats often trivialize the worst consequences of their policies. This dismissal of unforeseen consequences can take the form of bad counts at the collection level, tampering by partisan intermediaries, and distortions at the top where unfavorable sub-categories can be eliminated. Favorable statistics are often accumulated using reverse techniques. The greater the pressure for specific results, the more distorted the official tallies. Anecdotal evidence collected at the grass roots often reveals local conditions more clearly than “scientific” compilations of official statistics.
These numbers must pass through multiple tiers of reviewing authorities, each tier more isolated from the phenomenon being tabulated and more inclined to distort official results to suit its agenda. Finally, crafty statisticians can manipulate these figures to arrive at any conclusion their paymasters desire.
It is easy for a weapon society to sweep unforeseen consequences under the rug, since we have been convinced in advance that such disasters are inevitable.
13. Lying by omission: reactionary candidates for public office and high judgeship have refused to clarify their take on controversial topics. Such evasions may not bear the stink of direct lies, but the right not to incriminate themselves does not compare to that of criminal suspects. After all, high office and public policy are at stake here, not mere criminal punishment. During a job interview, the least suspicion of unsuitability should be grounds for dismissal, as should a candidate’s tendency to cloak his prejudice.
Otherwise, we will find ourselves overruled by wall-to-wall imitators of the current Supreme Court, reactionary to the core.
Of course, a complex system of checks and balances will only control a few deviants who refuse to act in good faith. No system will work when majorities embrace Conspiracies of Greed with gusto. Some overriding moral principle must come into play. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait for unforeseen consequences to blow all this manure away. Be warned: once the shit hits the fan, it won’t be at all pleasant downwind where we’ve been left stranded.
People keep denying that bad behavior has bad consequences and must be controlled for that reason. Idealism holds its ultimate reward not for its own sake but because it produces better outcomes through miracles of generosity. I am ashamed to have to remind Learners of this obvious truth. A society has obviously jammed its bearings if it has to justify idealism against a majority opinion that rejects it: the current situation.
14. Meme-lies: some fanatics find their chosen dogma deeply satisfying, even though those cherished beliefs may reflect unique circumstances and aspirations and may be unsuitable for other people. To bolster their fragile ego, personal insecurity, powerlessness and low self-esteem, they must force other people to accept their fanatical ideas, even if they contradict those peoples’ perceived needs. If enough fanatics share this belief, they may become powerful enough to injure those who threaten them with disagreement. The more deeply held the belief and the more passionate the believers, (for example, the international brotherhood of nationalists at perpetual war with each other), the greater the likelihood of trouble.
15. Weapon mentality lies: we recite the same “truths” even though we know they are lies. Talented weapon mentors earn big bucks to refine, revise and re-broadcast these untruths ad infinitum. Effective dissent is silenced – whatever the cost – until obvious lies replace the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… Even if this corruption takes a thousand years and even if it fosters social contradictions and lethal crises.
16. Sports lies: as long as my friends and I can stick to sports babble, we can neglect monumental social problems.
Injustice prevails when strangers may not discuss serious issues without risking unforeseen violence. At which point, sports babble becomes a magical incantation, the favorite means of disarming animosity and sidetracking debate, the lowest common denominator of mutual irresponsibility. Any adult who considers his contribution to critical thought and social activism unnecessary, is an idiot in the Greek sense: an over-aged child.
The mass media sustain this idiocy. They spoon-feed tepid pap to the info proletariat, withhold complex and controversial topics and replace them with insignificant sports.
The other day, I walked into two random taverns and found myself wedged between two wide-screen TVs and their blaring sports blather. I was struck by the fact that – in millions of identical places… just about the last public places allowed – no valid data is transmitted every day all year long.
It is time we started reasoning like adults. We could begin by forcing the media to retrieve like good bird dogs our social truths in all their complexity.
17. Self-lies are the most insidious. They can take any form described above but should be listed separately.
You alone can correct a falsehood once it has taken hold in your brain. Like Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Tale, a self-lie victim must witness the painful after-effects of his delusion in order to detoxify. This process wastes valuable time, demands a great deal of courage, drags out the suffering of innocents and induces unbearable guilt in those who repent.
To what extent would our lives improve if we sought the truth preemptively?
18. The simplifying lie of denial: “Whatever it is or might be, it can neither be true nor ever succeed. That did not just happen. That is false, no matter how true it sounds. That person cannot be what he claims to be. No matter what catastrophe we appear to be headed for, it will work out in the end without our getting involved.” For lack of a better response.
19. The lies of art and creativity: Ah! How much sadder life would be without them! Our withdrawal from misery, my Learners friends; as opposed to the rich man’s fantasy: “my pursuit of happiness.”
The first symptom of the Routine of Evil is the proliferation of Big Lies. From a Learner standpoint, lying burns excess energy in a world where every joule should be smart-metered; it is degrading, insulting and vulgar; it leads to errors of reason and action. Like other forms of violence, lying takes more effort in the long run than does adhering to the truth. Without some massive form of self-delusion, it is difficult to embrace evil and still adhere to some semblance of the truth. So additional truthfulness would help us distinguish right from wrong.
Knowledge is wealth; lying is theft. What would weapon mentality have you do? Do the opposite.
Gandhi’s stipulations are categorical. According to him, Good, Truth and Non-violence are one and the same, each reflecting the other two. Evil, Violence and Untruth are self-reinforcing aspects of the Cartesian illusion of being disconnected from the Universe. Lies, cruelty and power-hunger are just different flavors of violence. There is no such thing as a “small lie” or an “acceptable level of violence.” May we embrace his wisdom!
He believed that people should make impossible demands on themselves in order to learn from their mistakes. According to him, politics offer the supreme challenge to moral beings: the same way tightrope walking offers more challenge than strolling down a boulevard. Heightened risk makes the business more interesting. Besides, who is supposed to run our politics? Crooks?
That man followed the path of supreme service and tragic optimism, the glorious path of Buddha and Jesus. Only superheroes would dare follow in their footsteps. We vile cowards must witness their dazzling trajectory while crouching amidst our glowing embers of Hell.
Momentary redemption may come about by establishing a Learner Commonwealth on PeaceWorld. As far as I can tell, only reincarnation in Christ’s lifeline could unseal the escape hatch to final redemption and pry it wide open enough to let everyone’s soul through, Gandhi’s, Buddha’s and all the others’ included.